Cawston 10-home development proposal comes under criticism
The planning application for 10 homes next to Cawston Community Centre has been criticised by residents
By Eleanor Holdsworth
RESIDENTS have criticised a planning application for 10 homes to be built on land to the west of Cawston Community Centre.
They complained that when they bought their homes they were told the land would be used for community use, such as a doctor’s surgery or pharmacy.
However, the land has now been sold and the community-use is now seemingly off the cards.
There will be a further public meeting this evening, Monday 23rd May 2022 at 7pm at Cawston Community Centre for discussion about the application. The meeting will be chaired by Rugby Borough Council Cllr Michael Moran (Admirals & Cawston, Labour), and the applicant and other councillors have been invited.
Some residents have taken to Facebook to raise their concerns that an extra surgery is much needed; and that the development would add to traffic problems around the school.
Cawston’s parish council had originally asked about the land, but weren’t aware until last Tuesday’s meeting (17th May 2022) that the sale had taken place or that an application had been made for a ten-home development.
The planning application has been made by Poonah Investments Limited, whose directors include Warwickshire County Council’s Cllr Kam Kaur (Bilton & Hillside, Conservative). Cllr Kaur lists her involvement in Poonah Investments Ltd on the council register of interests.
Rugby Borough Council’s Cllr Watson-Merret (Admirals & Cawston, Conservative) was present at last week’s parish council meeting, and we have asked her for more information about the site.
We also understand that the consultation on this application (R22/0383) was originally due to close on 6th June 2022, but has been extended to 20th June, after Cawston parish council’s meeting last week.
A spokesperson from Rugby Borough Council said: “The land in question was owned privately and the council had no involvement in the sale.
“The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 sets out how local planning authorities in England process planning applications, including consultation periods. The consultation has not been extended. On receipt of the application, we sent letters to neighbouring properties of the site. This date was entered into our online planning portal, which generates a consultation closing date 21 days later (the statutory length of a consultation on an application). When a site notice is erected on site, the date of this is entered into our planning portal, and again the portal generates a closing date 21 days from this date. When a press notice is published, the portal is again updated with a consultation deadline 21 days from this date. In the case of this application, the press notice is set to be published at the next available opportunity (Thursday 26th May). 21 days from this date takes us to 16th June, but we have to factor in the extended bank holiday weekend, which takes us to 18th June. As the 18th June is a Saturday, the closing date for the consultation has been set as Monday 20th June.”
The proposed development
At the moment the privately-owned grassland is mown but empty.
Access to the new development would be via a new ‘bell-mouth’ junction with Heritage Close in Cawston .
The development would consist of nine two-storey houses and one bungalow, with a mix of 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom homes.
And none of those homes will be classed as ‘affordable’.
Campaigner Richard Allanach posted on Facebook on 18th May 2022: “…The applicant is making use of a loophole in the Rugby Local Plan not to provide any “affordable” housing…Rugby’s residents who cannot afford a home of their own will continue to be let down by RBC’s planning policies.”
However, a spokesperson from Rugby Borough Council said: “Affordable Housing Provision in the borough’s Local Plan requires affordable housing to be provided on all sites of at least 0.36 hectares in size or capable of accommodating 11 (net) dwelling units or more (including conversions and subdivisions). The site in question is 0.34 hectares and the proposal is for 10 dwellings. It would incorrect to refer to a ‘loophole’ when it is adopted policy.”
A biodiversity impact assessment carried out in November last year found that the proposals would lead to the loss of all habitats within the boundary of the site.
Depending on the landscaping of the new development, the biodiversity net loss would be between 1.05 and 0.8 (this refers to a calculation of biodiversity habitat units gained or lost as a result of a development).
Assessor Casey-Ruth Griffin wrote: “In this instance, when understanding the limitations of the site and its relative isolation within the area it is not considered feasible that sufficient compensation and enhancements could be provided on site. Therefore, a financial offset would be considered appropriate.”